Paying Respects


THE TRUE TEST of one's humanity comes in how one reacts to the misfortunes of one's enemies. According respect to those one agrees, with requires no great virtue, no great appreciation of the dignity of man. The capacity to treat charitably those who fail to reciprocate has been widely preached--but rarely followed--for many centuries.

The recent death of Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov is cause for solemnity. No matter how great his sins, how horrible his tyranny, how terrible the suffering he caused, he was a fellow human being, a thinking, breathing, feeling being whose life was sacred.

A decent respect for human life requires a serious, sober response to the news of his death. It is at once strange and sad that many of those conjuring up images of Big Brother display the very lack of humanity, of human sensitivity, that they so readily inveigh against.

As John Donne wrote. "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind."